Gram e Gram


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Gram e Gram Review

by Mark Romano

This is early prime Malavoi from the years 1982 (track one), 1983 (tracks two through seven) and 1985 (tracks eight through ten). This material shows the group in the first stages of its rise to become the premier string orchestra of the French Antilles. The album cover has just the group's name on it, although it is known as Gram e Gram for the first track, an epic 11-minute sound collage. The songs are creolized quadrilles, mazurkas, and folkloric arrangements by the noted pianist Paulo Rosine. The folkloric track entitled "Malavoi" tells of the highly prized variety of sugar cane that grows in thickets that also sometimes house the dangerous viper. "La Guadeloupeenne," the famous melodic hymn to the beautiful women of Guadeloupe, is here in its original version, later admirably redone by Tanya St. Val on the Matebis album. The strings sing that irresistible Antillean swing underpinned by the piano phrasings of Paulo Rosine and percussion of the Bernard brothers. There is only one Malavoi, and these tracks are a worthy testament to the group's creativity and expert musicianship. Highly recommended as a good introduction.